In year 11, the second last year of high school in Australia, I chose literature as a subject to fill a gap in my science and maths focused study. I found literature effortless. I know that sounds arrogant, but I really did find it all too easy. I read the books, I wrote the essays, I didn’t think much about it, and I was rewarded with A’s. Perhaps that’s why I never considered it for further studies, it felt too easy. Too frivolous.
I remember vividly telling my teacher, Ms. Lay, that I wouldn’t be returning the following year. I told her I couldn’t do literature in year 12 because it clashed with Specialist Mathematics and I had to do Specialist Mathematics because I wanted to be a physiotherapist and I wanted to be a physiotherapist because it was important and helpful and I couldn’t think of anything else to so, and also because I wanted to do the same subjects as my sister.
Her words still ring in my ears.
‘This isn’t about your sister, babe. This is about you.’
I still mentally kick myself in the butt. Why, oh why, didn’t I listen to her. I should have followed my heart, not my head. I should have studied what interested me, and what I found easy, not subjects that I thought I had to do, and which I found difficult. Reading books has always been a huge part of my life, I read every night before bed and I always have.
I was sitting in my English lecture today and the lecturer began talking about Bilbo Baggins. I read The Hobbit over 10 years ago, and here I was, in a lecture theatre, a million miles away from ‘home,’ an age away from who I once was, listening to someone tell me about Bilbo Baggins! An involuntary grin quickly spread across my face as I turned my full attention to what was being said. Bilbo Baggins didn’t want to go on his journey, he wanted to stay in his hobbit hole and drink tea. His narrative and adventure had to be driven by Gandalf.
I began to wonder who was driving my narrative. Who was pushing me into my journey, reluctant and screaming, but quickly finding it to be a place full of potential and joy. I suppose Ms. lay tried to be that person 9 years ago, and I didn’t listen. I wish I could call her up and jump and down and say, ‘Ms. lay! Look where I am! I’m figured it out, and now I’m where I’m supposed to be! Thank you!’
Instead, I made a mental note to send my thanks into the universe. Blog style.